When Is A Workplace Not A Workplace?
Hey team, I've found myself in a bit of a interesting situation. I work for a big "Govt. dept", lots of employees, all working within a big tract of land, occupied by various work-groups. One thing this dept. does is provide a "Hobbies Complex" in the form of a joinery shop and a couple of engineering workshops, as well as a hire centre (hedge trimmers, log splitters, all sorts).
In the past, the joinery shop has been allowed to run under the auspices of the users, basically, being at home in their garage. To reinforce this, Staff may use the the facilities (machines etc.) only if they are on leave or after hours i.e. after work and the weekend. They are not allowed to use the facilities during working ours unless they are on leave and are not to use the facilities whilst in "work attire".
The Department has appointed a manager to look after all aspects of the facility (workshops, garages & hire gear) however a debate has arisen in the form of a safety issue. The manager is saying that because staff use the facilities after hours, are not doing "Work" as such and not engaged in work-related activities, the HSAW Act doesn't apply.
I say that the staff who use the facility (and who are inducted into the Joiner's Shop, and also sign an indemnity form) are
to his workplace and as such the "Dept" is bound by the act to ensure that the staff are safe, the machines are safe etc. Etc.
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